Launched: Today, September 14, 2005 (Public Alpha)
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Meebo, an ajax-rich web-based instant messenger application, launched today. It’s elegant and useful.
There are a number of problems with instant messaging. First, most of us have too many client applications to run at one time (skype, msn, AOL, Yahoo, Google Talk, Meetro, etc…) (solutions like Trillian attempt to solve this). Second, if you are away from your base computer, you may not be able to access the software needed to run IM. Meebo solves this by allowing you to log into AOL, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo instant messaging services from their web page.
Since Meebo uses ajax, you can drag and drop the message boxes around the screen. And the core functionality (making IM more useful and easy to use) is quite nice.
There are things that they can improve on – support for emoticons is the first to come to mind. One problem that they can’t overcome, but which users should be aware of, is that Meebo is taking (and can store) your IM usernames and password. Any Meebo employee (and hacker) with database access could obtain these credentials and use or change them. Something to be aware of.
Also, Meebo should be supporting Jabber even in this public alpha product. Jabber is an open protocol and should therefore be the easiest service to implement. By supporting Jabber, Meebo would allow you to access Google Talk (profile) as well. This was pointed out in a comment by Frederico Oliveira on an UneasySilence post on Meebo earlier today.
For additional information, see the Meebo about us page and blog.
Elaine Wherry â€“ the Ajax guru
Sandy Jen – Server side programming
Seth Sternberg – jack of everything else